Why I Always Vote And You Should Too
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Politics and Activism

Why I Always Vote And You Should Too

Apathy is no longer an option.

Why I Always Vote And You Should Too
Constitutional Advocates

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union…”

The first line of the US Constitution, and the lifeblood of democracy. The idea of a government created by the people and for the people, a government in which every citizen has the right to be a part of the political process by the simple act of filling out a ballot and casting their vote. Presidents, senators, judges, governors, and dozens of other positions are all voted upon by the general public, or are chosen by the elected officials that the general public voted on. The right to vote is a privilege that many of people across the globe do not have, yet we tend to take that right for granted, despite that it may be the most important right we have.

In the 2012 presidential election, only 57.4 percent of eligible Americans voted, according to the 2012 Census Bureau report. America is trailing almost all developed countries in voter turnout, despite being a country with political participation etched right into our foundation. That number goes down to 42% when looking at the 2014 midterm elections. Why is it that such an important right is taken for granted by more than half of all Americans? I understand that America is as polarized as it’s ever been and more and more of the electorate isn’t feeling enthusiastic about either of our two major political parties, but voting is more important than I can express. With growing numbers of unnecessary voter ID laws, decreasing numbers of states that allow same-day registration, and other things such as the electoral college inhibiting democracy, it’s easy to lose faith in our political process and start to think that your vote no longer matters. However, that proves exactly why who we choose to put into office is more important now than ever.

Every single day we are affected by the decisions that our elected officials make, and not just the president either. Who we put in the Oval Office matters, but more important than who we put in the White House is who we put in our Congress. Our congress writes, debates, and passes our laws. Laws that affect us every single day, such as the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, laws that affirm our rights as Americans. The Sherman Antitrust Act that put an end to big business monopolies. The Social Security Act, that continues to be a hot topic to this day. Those laws and hundreds of others were drafted and passed by the people we chose to elect.

On a smaller scale, our local elections matter. Think about North Carolina. We’ve all been hearing nonstop about HB2, the horrendous discriminatory bill passed in late March. That bill was written and passed through the NC General Assembly and right to Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk due to the representatives that North Carolinians, including myself, choose to put into office. Who we elect matters, whether or not we vote matters. Even beyond legislation, some of the most important individuals in our country, our judges, are confirmed by our Senate. Every single day judges decide on cases that could change our lives. Roe v Wade, Brown v Board of Education, Citizens United, Obergefell v Hodges, and hundreds of other landmark Supreme Court cases were decided the way they were because of the judges that our representatives elect. Many of these court cases were decided in a 5-4 decision, and when it comes down to one person, it matters.

It’s easy to forget that our voice matters, it’s easy to lose faith in our political process, I get that. However, that is not an excuse. Every day our lives are affected directly and indirectly as a result of the votes we choose to cast, or a lack of votes we choose to cast. There’s no way to pretend that who we elect doesn’t matter, and if you’re not a fan of how our system works, you have to vote. Finding candidates that fit your ideology and will work towards the same sort of goals you want is the only way to change the system. We vote “in order to form a more perfect union”, and that union is constantly evolving, so our votes must continue. Your civic responsibility never stops, and in this day and age, apathy is not an option.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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